ISSN 1022-7954, Russian Journal of Genetics, 2008, Vol. 44, No. 1, pp. 1–5. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2008.
Original Russian Text © T.N. Fedorova, 2008, published in Genetika, 2008, Vol. 44, No. 1, pp. 7–11.
Petr Mikhailovich Zhukovskii has lived a long life,
over 60 years of which he dedicated to biology, having
made a deep, lasting effect on many branches of the sci-
ence. Zhukovskii is a world-renowned botanists, mor-
phologist, taxonomist, geneticists, geographer, immu-
nologist, and historian of cultivated ﬂora; he is also
known as an associate and follower of N.I. Vavilov.
Zhukovskii was born on January 10 (23), 1888, in
Kishinev (Chisinau), to a very large family. His father, a
court clerk, died when Zhukovskii was 12 years old, and
Zhukovskii had to earn his living a copyist and tutor.
In 1906, Zhukovskii graduated from gymnasium
and entered the Division of Natural Sciences of the
Department of Physics and Mathematics of University
of Novorossiisk (later renamed to University of Odessa).
When a student, Zhukovskii began research in applied
botany and the origin and history of cultivated ﬂora
under the guidance of Professor G.I. Tanﬁl’ev, a classic
of botany and a geographer and historian of plants.
Zhukovskii accompanied his teacher in several expedi-
tions to tundra, chernozem steppes, and the Crimea.
Long afterwards, Zhukovskii told that Professor Tan-
ﬁl’ev was to ﬁrst to evoke his interest in botanical geog-
raphy and the history and origin of cultivated plants.
Other outstanding scientists, including V.A. Rotert
(plant anatomy), F.M. Kamenskii (plant systematics),
and V.V. Polovtsev (plant physiology), became Zhuk-
ovskii’s teachers and entirely determined the ﬁeld of his
future research activity.
On graduating from the university in 1911, Zhuk-
ovskii enrolled as a third-year student at the Petrovsko-
Razumovskaya Agricultural Academy (later renamed
to Timiryazev Moscow Agricultural Academy). In
1912, as a student, he got assistantship at the Nakhich-
evan’ Agricultural Test Station (Rostov-on-Don).
In 1913, Zhukovskii left the academy and joined a
geological expedition to Central Asia headed by Profes-
sor D.I. Mushketov, where he worked as a botanist and
meteorologist. When exploring the Tien-Shan, Zhukovskii
collected exceptionally reach material on the mountain
ﬂora of Uzbekistan. This herbarium was afterwards sent to
V.I. Lipskii, a well-known specialist in ﬂoristics.
In 1913–1914, Zhukovskii worked as an assistant of
the head of Andizhan Agricultural Test Station; in 1914–
1915, as a senior specialist in seed production and testing
at the Department of Agriculture. Zhukovskii published
his ﬁrst work (on agricultural meteorology) in 1915.
In the same year, illness (a relapse of tropical fever)
forced Zhukovskii to leave Central Asia for Tiﬂis
(Tbilisi). Zhukovskii organized and subsequently
headed a seed test station at the Tiﬂis Botanical Garden;
in 1919, he was appointed the director of the botanical
garden. Zhukovskii’s professorial career also began in Tif-
lis. In 1920–1922, he was the deputy director of Higher
Agricultural Courses and simultaneously a lecturer at the
Chair of Special Agriculture. Later (1923–1925), Zhuk-
ovskii was a professor at the Chair of Botany of the Agri-
cultural Department of Tiﬂis Polytechnic College.
The ten years (1915–1925) that Zhukovskii worked
in the Caucasus were very fruitful. He began large-
scale research in cultivated and weedy ﬂora of the Cau-
casus, and his professional formation as a plant taxon-
omist and plant geographer was completed. In Tran-
scaucasia, Zhukovskii took part in many expeditions
together with L.L. Dekaprilevich and V.L. Menabde. The
results of these expeditions established the status of the
Caucasus as a center of origin of wheats, many fruit plants,
and new species and varieties of cultivated plants.
Zhukovskii paid special attention to wheat. He dis-
covered and described the endemic species
Zhuk.; located the habitat of the wheat spe-
Vav. (resistant to powdery mildew),
which was earlier discovered by Vavilov; and described
a number of new wheat varieties.
characterized by exceptionally high multiple resistance
to diseases, proved to be tetraploid; however, both cyto-
plasm and genome of this species differed from those of
other durum wheats. It was successfully used for wheat
breeding in many countries. In Russia,
became one of the precursors of the spring durum
wheat cultivar Melanopus 7. In addition,
was found to be a source of cytoplasmic male sterility
(CMS) and is widely used for obtaining heterosis
hybrids throughout the world.
In 1916, Zhukovskii ﬁnished his ﬁrst monograph on
Caucasian representatives of the genera
Petr Mikhailovich Zhukovskii:
In Memory of the Teacher
January 23, 2008, marks the 120th anniversary of the birth of the ﬁrst Editor-in-Chief of Genetika
(Russian Journal of Genetics), Member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR P.M. Zhukovskii.
The Editorial Board of the journal asked former Zhukovskii’s student, Doctor of Biological Sci-
ences T.N. Fedorova to tell our readers about the life and work of her mentor.